When you hire a professional moving company, you are putting all of your valuables in their hands. A subpar moving company can break or lose items, deliver late, and just generally be a hassle to work with.
That’s why asking questions ahead of time is so important. This can help you screen for potential issues and know what to expect. If you are unsure what questions to ask, we’ve got you covered.
We’ve written a handy guide to hiring best international moving company with the seven most important questions you should be asking. Read on to learn more!
1. Bonded, Insured, and Licensed?
A reputable professional moving company will be licensed and insured. Have a look at the qualities of a good moving company. Unfortunately, there are some companies out there who say they are licensed and are not.
Fortunately for you, this is easy to check. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issues an identification number to each registered moving company, and you can check their number on the website.
Additionally, you want to look for an insured company. This means that they carry liability insurance in the event of an accident, either to your items or to workers.
Finally, you want to make sure that the company is bonded. This simply means that they are contractually bound to the guarantees that they give you regarding services.
2. Getting an Estimate
Not all moving cost estimates are going to be accurate. The first estimate you will usually receive is some napkin math with the size of your house and the distance of the move.
However, this estimate should not be considered binding. You need to push the company for a binding estimate that goes into greater detail about the services they will provide and their costs.
This means that there are no surprise fees or additional costs once you receive a bill. Remember that any non-binding estimate means that the company can (and will) add on additional expenses that you were not quoted originally.
Make sure that any estimates you receive are put into writing, preferably in a contract of services with the residential movers.
3. What Services Does the Company Provide?
Some moving services offer an entire menu of options for your household move. Be sure to do your research beforehand. You don’t want to plan for the company to pack your items, only to find out later that packing is YOUR job.
Some of the services a professional moving company can provide include:
- Packing and wrapping
- Storage services
- Appliance removal and re-installation
4. Do They Use Subcontractors or Contract Workers?
Residential movers often do not have everything “in-house,” so to speak. They may hire contract workers for loading and unloading items, or even subcontract their trucks and drivers.
Before hiring a professional moving company, make sure that you are knowledgeable about their structure and who is going to be in your house.
If they hire contractors, make sure that those contractors are also covered with insurance and bonds.
Some moving companies act as brokers, as well. This means that they have partnerships with other moving companies and may delegate some or even most of the work.
This can be a double-edged sword. You could potentially be paying a brokerage company more than just using one of their partners directly. However, they may also be able to split up the moving job to save you some money.
Another potential issue to be aware of with brokers and subcontractors is miscommunication. The people that show up to pack your items may not have gotten your special instructions, for example.
To prevent this, be sure to clarify your wishes with the movers who are on the job.
5. Ask About the Insurance (Again)
While all reputable moving services are insured, not all insurance is the same level of coverage. Make sure that your items are fully covered in case of damage or loss during shipping.
Most companies offer a baseline insurance guarantee. Sometimes this is calculated by weight, which means that an expensive item like an antique China plate gets the same insurance payout as a coffee mug.
When you’re hiring movers, make sure that you are clear on how insurance claims are handled and paid out. You may have to pay an additional fee for more coverage, but it is worth it for peace of mind.
6. Other Fees and Costs
Even with a binding estimate, sometimes there are additional fees and costs that occur during a move. Weather issues, gas price fluctuations, and other unforeseeable events might add to the price.
Make sure that you are knowledgeable about potential extra fees and costs before hiring a professional moving company. Some of the most common extra fees include:
- Furniture breakdown and re-assembly
- Packing supplies (some companies include these in their prices)
- Extra fees for large items or long carrying distances
- Extra stop fees and travel fees
- Storage fees
- Express delivery
Additionally, make sure to budget for tipping your movers.This will keep them happy and motivated to work hard for you.
7. Cancellations, Delivery Estimates, and Other Service Questions
Be sure that you are aware of a moving service’s policies regarding events such as day-of cancellations, weather delays, and other service-related issues. These are things that are hard to predict but should be planned for.
You should also receive a delivery estimate from the moving company. This may or may not be a guarantee of when your items are delivered. If you need your items on a specific day, make sure to get that in writing.
To keep it short: any potential issue you can think of, ask the company what their policy is for dealing with it.
Hiring a Professional Moving Company
A professional moving company is someone you are trusting with your livelihood and home.
For more home-related tips and useful articles, be sure to check out the “Interior” section of our blog.